“The following Saturday morning my mother drove me to the highway to get the New York bus. It was my first time going alone and my mother was nervous.
“Listen, Margaret-don’t sit next to any men. Either sit alone or pick out a nice lady. And try to sit up front. If the bus isn’t air-conditioned open your window. And when you get there ask a lady to show you the way downstairs. Grandma will meet you at the information desk.””
I read a blog post the other day by a dude who wrote every day for 367 days straight. If he had 20 minutes, he said, he could write 500 words. I can’t even imagine it. I’m writing these stories that feel like the center of everything, the tenderest of underbellies of this whole thing I’m making, and I am terrified. If I have 20 minutes, I spend it staring at the sentences I’ve made and trying to summon the next one, and worrying that it is really not the sentence I want, but of course, you don’t know things like that until you’ve written the next sentence, and then the one after that. It’s easy to write myself into a place I don’t really mean, just so I can keep going, and then I have to back up, rewrite, try again, and consider if what I wrote before was actually what I meant, maybe the thing that feels the most urgent is the thing you mean the most, or maybe it’s the thing you’re hanging on the most tightly to, because at least it’s a thing you have, and so much of writing is feeling grateful that anything at all has appeared. I read another thing once about how being in despair is about abandoning God, but really, it’s those moments when you can’t hang onto the knowledge that this is part of it, it always happens, and you will always see the other side.